Preparing your farm for the “what-if” scenario

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fighting fire Emergencies can happen in a blink of an eye and force producers to act quickly to save their farms and in some cases reputations. From fire to flood, tornado to undercover animal activist video, are you prepared?

The Pork Checkoff has two tools to help pork producers plan and prepare for such events.

Emergency Action Plan
The first, an Emergency Action Plan, is focused more on the operations side of an emergency.

In a recent “PorkPod” broadcast, Cindy Cunningham, Assistant Vice President National Pork Board, pointed, “If there’s a natural disaster, if there is a situation where a person is injured – how do you deal with an emergency on the farm? And that is actually part of our Pork Quality Assurance Plus program.”

To complete the plan, producers are led through four steps to better analyze and describe their individual operation and situation. They are also advised to go over the plan with each employee.

In addition, to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, an employer must have a printed copy of an emergency action plan readily accessible to all employees.

The Emergency Action Plan is available here.

Farm-Level Crisis Response Plan
The Pork Checkoff’s latest tool, the Farm-Level Crisis Response Plan, focuses more on situations that could impact a pork producer’s reputation.

For example, in 2010, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released an undercover video of a Smithfield/Murphy-Brown breeding facility in Waverly, Va. The video, released to the media, claimed to document the “inhumane treatment of sows.” If your farm ended up on a similar video, would you know what to do next?

This plan, available on the Pork Checkoff website or by calling 800-456-7675. It walks producers through building a crisis plan.

“It talks about assembling the team and who needs to be on that team. What kind of information those folks are going to need to deal with the situation,” Cunningham said in the PorkPod interview. “Who all needs should be part of that response – be it management on the farm,  potentially local law enforcement, your legal counsel, if there’s some public relations needs, communicating with your employees, communicating with your community. Really helping you to make sure you can still return to business as usual after the situation you’ve gone through on your farm.”

Stop Procrastinating Today
As Cunningham points out, being prepared for both the expected and unexpected can pay off for producers.

“We know we may have some situations where there is potentially a natural disaster or weather situation or a fire. But we also know that there are those who would prefer that we not be in business and who can take something that happening on our farm, blow it out of context and out of proportions,” Cunningham said.

Having a crisis response plan ready helps pork producers manage and control situations, letting them resume business as usual as soon as possible.  

Listen to the “PorkPod” broadcast above or click here to visit the Pork Checkoff website.



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